Thing #30 – Decade in Review

Around New Year’s Eve, I perform a “Year in Review” with myself. It involves me going on a wine or coffee date with my journal and evaluating various buckets of my life. Work, love, travel, creativity, health, home, learning, etc…I reflect on highs, lows, surprises and lessons in each bucket. 

While it’s nice to recap the past 12 months, it’s also an illuminating way to reveal what I want to do more or less of in the new year. Through this process, I get clarity on the person I want to be in the year ahead and how to prioritize my time. It’s not so much about setting resolutions as it is creating a pie chart for how I want to spend my time.

As I closed out my 20s and peered into my 30s, I constructed a vision for how I wished to move through my new decade. Fresh from my trip to Europe and eager to conquer the next phase in my adulthood, I created a platform. I reviewed my 20s, sifted away the garbage and plucked out the gold. I focused not on what I “should” do, but on what would keep me filled up. 

Per my year-in-review model, I’d like to share this snapshot from my blue journal and assess how my decade stacked up to the vision I laid out. 

To avoid boring you with verbatim nonsense of my journal, I’ve pulled out key phrases from the passage I wrote about my 30s:

”…More playing, dancing, singing, writing…Evoking passion in others, making them see the beauty in life and showing them what they’re capable of…Meeting new people…Being happy with myself and comfortable in my skin…Experiencing new things all the time – wine, cheese, new food, new everything.”

I was so pleased to see how perfectly aligned these priorities were with how I actually lived my 30s. Great foresight, 29-year-old me! So, how’d I do? 

More playing, singing, dancing and writing: Before moving to Missouri, I spent nearly 12 years engaged in an active dance career. Eh, more of a dance “side hustle.” Now the only dancing I do is for my dog in the kitchen while I’m waiting for water to boil. I miss it, but not as much as I thought. Besides, now I have more time for writing! (she says, still nine entries behind her impending writing deadline…egh). As I’ve gotten older I’ve seen how seriousness and responsibility bully their way into the front seat. I fight back by being a fierce advocate for the importance of playing, daydreaming and pursuing creativity. I get disheartened (read: furious) when people don’t make space for this. You’re the only one who can call shotgun for your playfulness.

Evoking passion in others, making them see the beauty in life and showing them what they’re capable of: I love listening to people talk about their passions and pushing them to imagine where they can take it next. I love watching their eyes sparkle as they visualize and describe their ideal world. My mission is to help people discover how brave and capable they are. To help them grasp the vastness of their internal and external worlds. This mission has become clearer to me over the past year and it’s where I intend to spend even more time in my next decade.

Meeting new people: Ummm yes. The inspiration I get when connecting (or reconnecting) with people is intoxicating. Being on the receiving end of someone’s story and witnessing the way they move through the world has the power to leave a profound impact. Or even alter the course of your life. This takes focused attention, which is something we seem to struggle with. Connecting with each other is one of the most special, vulnerable gifts we can share.

Being happy with myself and comfortable in my skin: This has been the most pleasantly surprising thing about my 30s. I’m way happier and more comfortable than I was in my 20s, though some days it’s admittedly a struggle. Do you know what exploded over the past decade? Instagram. Have you heard of it? Instagram is this fantastic online tool that helps you feel wildly inadequate and generally behind in life. Instagram aside, I feel stronger and more confident than I ever have, and give fewer fucks than ever before. See, I don’t even care if you’re offended that I used the F. Though, if you’ve spent more than five minutes with me, you already know this.

Experiencing new things all the time – wine, cheese, new food, new everything – Yes! I’ve spent the decade frolicking outside the perimeter of my comfort zone and I have no plans of stopping. I get claustrophobic thinking about a small, uninteresting, cookie-cutter life, and my default method of retaliation is to regularly do things that scare me. Also, I love that my 29-year-old self somehow knew 39-year-old me would travel to Sonoma Valley to celebrate her 40th birthday with wine, cheese, new food and new everything. Cheers to that.

I haven’t yet explored a vision for my 40s. And when I do, I probably won’t share in an upcoming “thing.” It’ll get tucked away in my journal for safekeeping.

While there are dark, cobwebby areas of personal growth I’ll delve into more deeply, I think I’ll stick with the path I’ve been carving. As I get older and keep sifting out the garbage, I’ve found the particulars of the path grow more clearly into focus. I’ll plan to keep these priorities going for another 10 years. Especially the cheese part.

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